Refugees who left violence at home in places like Iraq for San Diego have been snared by a costly bureaucratic mistake in the county’s social service safety net.

“It turned out the county wasn’t prepared to handle applications from new refugee families, who get a special government grant to help them resettle,” Adrian Florido reports. “The county counted that money against them and denied their applications, when it should have referred them to an alternative program for refugees.”

The county is promising to fix the problem and belatedly get money to the refugees, who struggle to make ends meet in the United States.

Library Booster Promises ‘Noise’ Over Huge Cuts

Are libraries getting the short end of the budget stick as opposed to, say, arts groups because bookworms don’t make much of a fuss? If it’s true, as some observers suspect, things may change.

“I want you to watch the type and number of advocates we have and the ‘noise’ we make,” the chairman of the San Diego Public Library Foundation Board says. “It is going to be an interesting fight and I am betting that when we are done libraries and Park/Rec will not have any reduction in days or hours.”

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Something else that will be interesting: Whether library and recreation boosters suggest alternative city services that should be slashed instead or just demand that something else be cut without being specific.

You may be wondering why Mayor Jerry Sanders is gung-ho about preserving funding for arts in the city but willing to let libraries die on the vine. We asked him why art money isn’t being slashed. “Because we’ve cut them each year and they’re responsible in arts and culture for about 20,000 jobs. There’s a multi-ripple impact on that,” he said.

Dillon noted that libraries have been cut each year too. “Right,” Sanders said. “But there’s not the same job numbers.”

By the way, this story includes a rerun of Sam Hodgson’s classic image from a Sanders press conference last week: it shows the mayor and a photograph on the wall of a building falling down. I recognized the photo: it’s of the city’s old railroad station being torn down to make way for the sparkling new Santa Fe Depot building in 1915.

Is the photo a metaphor for the city’s current collapse? Or is it about rebirth? Maybe it’s both. Or maybe I shouldn’t look for metaphors on the walls at City Hall. (Just try and stop me, coppers!)

Do-It-Yourself Fact Check

You get to decide how badly our editor screwed up on the radio the other day when he said this about the City Council’s responses to budget proposals by the mayor: “In the past you really just had the mayor pitch something and the council made a few small tweaks here and there and that was it.”

In fact, in 2008 the council rejected the mayor’s plan to close seven branch libraries and nine recreation centers.

I’d give my boss a big “False” and tattoo it on his forehead as a warning to others. You may think he deserves another Fact Check verdict. Let us know: the verdict that gets the most votes will be the official one.

Meanwhile, we didn’t need any help from readers to figure out a Fact Check verdict for District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. She gets a rare “Huckster Propaganda” verdict over a statement she made to us about her Public Integrity Unit.

‘Of Course You Help a Friend’

You might have thought pardons and commutations are matters of justice. Silly you. Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is happy to set you straight: “Of course you help a friend,” he says in an interview about his controversial decision to cut the sentence of a young man accused in the 2008 murder of an SDSU student.


The man’s father is the former speaker of the state assembly. Lots of politicians were outraged by the commutation, which came at the very end of Schwarzenegger’s term.

“I understand people’s disappointments. I understand the parents’ anger. I would probably feel the same way,” Schwarzenegger tells Newsweek. “My office definitely made a mistake in not notifying the parents beforehand … and I’m ultimately responsible. … I feel good about the decision … I happen to know the kid really well. I don’t apologize about it.”

National City Could Lose Top Official

National City’s city manager, Chris Zapata, is up for a job in a city called Chandler, the Arizona Republic reports.

A Burrito Too Far

Thanks to a Supreme Court decision, Chipotle has lost a case in which a customer said the burrito chain’s San Diego-area restaurants made it too hard for disabled people to oversee the preparation of their food, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The problem: the wheelchair-unfriendly dividers that separate people in line.

Murder, I Wrote

I offer the plot for a San Diego based film noir — featuring dastardly doings at the zoo and a clandestine meeting over El Indio burritos — in a post over at the Culture Lust blog on In honor of our own Raymond Chandler, this bitter little story (it’s a “bitter little world,” dontcha know) is called “The Big Slip.”

And Here I Thought It Was Just a ‘Wealthy Town’

The surprisingly watchable reality show “Storage Wars” heads to the “hippie town of Encinitas,” as the TV listings describe it, in the episode that airs tonight at 10:30 p.m. on A&E. The show features people who seek riches by bidding on the contents of storage spaces whose renters didn’t pay their bills. One of its stars (the older guy who’s not the collector or the big jerk) is from Vista and a regular at Kobey’s Swap Meet.

Yes, I do have a reality show addiction. You can look forward to seeing me deal with it on “Intervention” and then, inevitably, on “Relapse.” It’s the circle of life!

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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